Joined: Mar 17, 2005
Location: Staten Island
|Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 12:46 pm Post subject: JUST IMAGINE....FOR A CHANGE
From Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:00 am to Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:59 am (included)
|Once again Katrina is in the news and once again it is about the mismanagement of the situation by FEMA. Thousands of trailers that have been housing hurricane victims have been found to contain extremely high levels of formaldehyde.
The government was aware of this at least six months ago but allowed families to live with this danger.
Live in trailers that it took them over a year to provide after Katrina.
Once again where is the common sense and again who is left to suffer?
Katrina, 9/11, Treatment of Veterans, the list goes on and on.
All you hear about from the presidential candidates is we need change.
Unfortunately all of them were in office while this was going on and still are.
While Congress has time to grill baseball players it has no time to address these issues or pass HR 4622.
Just imagine the changes we could really make if we actually required contractors to deliver what we paid them for.
Imagine what changes could be made if we actually acted on audit results and held people responsible.
Imagine the changes we could make if even 5% of the military budget went to programs for injured vets and their families.
Imagine the changes we could make if 10% of all campaign contributions went to not for profits actually trying to implement change.
Below is an excerpt from a 3/6/07 Where to Turn posting (for full post go to http://www.where-to-turn.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=36010
Now just imagine if anyone had listened.
Now that would have been a change
Common Sense would dictate that FEMA should be as much a proactive agency as it should be an immediate response agency.
Common Sense would have concluded that the levees were almost certainly to break under the circumstances.
Common Sense would have also determined that that most of the lanes of the highway should have been opened to outgoing traffic.
Common Sense would also have concluded that you needed a strategic on site distribution plan for all of the goods and services that were being sent.
Common Sense would also dictate that you put someone in charge that has experience that again was not the case
• According to the DHS’s inspector general, a shortage of qualified staff contributed to a lack of oversight and overwhelmed FEMA employees in the response to Hurricane Katrina.11 When Katrina hit, FEMA was understaffed by approximately 500 employees. As the 2005 hurricane season began, many of the people on staff were new and untrained.
• An estimated $800 million in federal grants for first responders was managed outside of FEMA. Lacking the authority to coordinate local and state preparedness programs, FEMA responded to Hurricane Katrina’s destruction with instances of miscommunication and a lack of coordination among the numerous departments and agencies.
The lack of trained experienced staff likely contributed to mismanagement of emergency assistance and reconstruction contracts, problems that disadvantaged minority and local businesses:
• More than 70% of Katrina-related contracts worth over $500,000—about 1,200 contracts in total—were awarded with less than full and open competition. Nearly 800 investigations have been opened into possible crimes by contractors, including theft, fraud, wrongful claims, and overfilling; 174 indictments have been handed down.
• Overwhelmed contracting staff were each responsible for overseeing an average of $163 million in contracts annually, a figure that is over seven times the industry average.
• Minority businesses were largely passed over for reconstruction work until October 2005, when Congress questioned FEMA’s actions. In February 2006 minority-owned businesses accounted for only 2.4% of the $5.1 billion awarded by FEMA. This was a slight increase from the previous October, when minority-owned businesses received a mere 1.5% of the federal contracts.
• After allegations of favoritism arose, more than 30 contracts were awarded to local and small businesses in the Gulf Coast region for work that was previously being carried out by large out-of-state contractors.